There was a post on Facebook yesterday, about inadvertently leaving items on the roof of the car when you drive off. People commented about losing expensive sunglasses, wallets and coffee cups. Others drove long distances without realising their error, only to find a biscuit tin or a china mug intact when they arrived at their destinations.
Inevitably, there were joking little jibes about mindfulness… and lack of it, of ageing and memory variants. These were balanced by acknowledgement of how being busy (in this case, focussing on community and the environment) weakens our attention to routine activities.
We’ve all been there… and have done something we wouldn’t have done had we not been over-loaded, stressed and/or distracted. We can all identify with items left on car rooves, even if mindlessness has led us down a different embarrassing track.
I’m sure I’ve been guilty of many and varied actions born out of distraction over the years. I make no excuses or apologies for these, and neither should anyone else. We can minimise such events, of course, but we are all human, and thus subject to the pressures of everyday life.
Some years ago, I arrived home from a day of appointments and shopping, put some things on the roof of the car while I locked it, then gathered them up and went inside. Several days later, there was a note under my door saying my (very expensive) x-rays had been found and could be collected at such-and-such an address.
I hadn’t even realised the scans were missing, but soon worked out what must have happened. When I summoned the courage, I shame-facedly knocked on the door at the address I’d been given and explained who I was.
‘I found these a few days ago’, the man said. ‘They were scattered right across the road and the envelope was further down the street.’
‘I think I left them on the roof of the car’, I said sheepishly. ‘But that would have been close to a week ago…’
‘They must have been on your roof for a few days at that rate, then skidded off when you turned that corner on the rise over there’, he suggested, nodding his head towards where he’d found the precious films.
From the remainder of the conversation, I learned the man was on holidays, had no vehicle and, wanting to recuperate after heavy stress at work, was keen to keep to himself.
After he rescued my x-rays, he took several long walks in a bid to find where I lived. He eventually found my address, but my flat number didn’t appear on the envelope, so he knocked on every door of the eighteen units trying to find me.
Unbeknown to him, most of the flats in the block were permanently empty, and the tenants of the other four – including me – were not at home. He returned several times before someone answered his knock and gave him my flat number.
With my knock on his door, his detective work and tenacity had paid off, and my necessary medical records had been delivered back to me… albeit in a round-a-bout way. The man had even cleaned them up after their adventure in the street.
I was so grateful I could have kissed him. I didn’t, of course… but I did thank him profusely, then left him in peace. I wrote a Thank You message and slipped it under the door of his holiday home at my first opportunity.
Life has since taken me to another part of the state, but I still visit that area occasionally. When I pass the house where he stayed, I think of his kindness and wonder if he left the house before my note was delivered.
A lack of in-the-moment awareness on my part led to the mishap with my x-rays, but this man’s mindfulness shone in every sense of the word ~
- He was cognisant of the importance of my medical records.
- He concentrated on rescuing them, cleaning them up, and getting them back to me.
- He went to painstaking lengths to restore them to me.
- He was selfless in his consideration and kindness.
And this was all while he was recuperating from his own stressful work situation…
This man was indeed a mindful Good Samaritan of the highest order!